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6.7: Reading Between the Lines

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    6.7.1 Reading Between the Lines, from Sarah Harmon

    Video Script

    Catherine did a really great job and explaining implicature and presupposition and so I'm not going to go too much more into that. There is one more piece that I want to bring to this discussion about reading between the lines, and it has to do with performative verbs.

    What is a performative verb? It is pretty much what you think it is: when you say the action and you are performing the action at the same time. It's a type of speech act. If that's a little hard to understand, close your eyes and what do you think of when I say: declare, baptize, pronounce, sentence, promise. All of those are verbs that in the present tense are speech acts. They are performing an action. The second I say I declare you married, at this point in time, the second I say I declare, that is when that couple is now married. That is what that means that is a speech act, or that is a performative verb. Every time that somebody says to you, I promise I will do this, or I promise I will get your work graded by Tuesday. The second that the person says, I promise, that is the promise or the contract, as it were, between the two people involved, that is a speech act. that is a performative verb.

    We're going to see pretty soon, when we talk about deixis, that in some languages, there needs to be a specific inflection to say that this is a performative verb. What is true in all languages is that the speech act must be in present tense in order for it to be performative. The second you change to future tense or past tense; it is just describing what will happen or what has happened and nothing more than that. It is not performative unless it is in the present tense.

    Speaking of deixis, let's move on to that.

    6.7.2 Hesitation and Dialogues

    The following video is from a TedEx contributor, Lorenzo García Amaya, in which he discusses the role of hesitations when we speak. Think about how you and your peers/friends speak, and how often you use hesitations to convey information. (The video is captioned.)

    6.7: Reading Between the Lines is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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